Christian rock's leading figures Skillet have just unleashed (pun intended) their next album. The band, known for their rigorous touring, is back with Unleashed, but it's not the big record you'd want from them.
For what it's worth, the record starts huge. 'Feel Invincible' starts epically with giant guitar paired with stinging synths, bringing the album in on a confident note. The chorus is absolutely massive, a big electronic banger with sweet duets by husband/wife duo John and Korey Cooper. 'Back From The Dead' follows through, the same big energy with a more pump-up vibe to it. The song is big and upfront, continuing the album on a strong note.
This is where the album starts falling apart. 'I Want To Live' is the last great track on the record, epic strings bringing the song in while duets serve as a highlight for the rest of the track, ending on a lovely note. The rest of the record just feels... uncertain. 'Stars' is what starts this trend, the song being clearly anthemic but wholly unfulfilling. This is a problem for nearly every other track on the album, especially the admittedly sweet 'Watching For Comets', as well as the constant internal struggle of trying to find a solid footing. 'Famous' has an odd dancey vibe amidst an album that was previously big and confronting, and 'Lions' follows this by sounding completely out of place, as if somewhere between these songs the album become a bad cross between 90s electronica and cheesy anthemic singing. 'Out Of Hell' has peppy vocals that absolutely don't fit the demanding instrumental.
Some songs seem to have lacked inspiration during their writing process, too. You can only listen to 'Undefeated' for so long before you say, "I get it." The chorus seems to be 75% of the song; you get sick of hearing "I know I can beat it... Fight for the love of the game, unstoppable / That's right, I'm unstoppable" by the time the song is reaching its end. 'Burn It Down' is one of the most boring tracks on the album; there's nothing remotely interesting about it. It's just an all around bad electronic rock song, which is unfortunate considering how well they were doing with the electronic influence early on with the record. 'Saviors Of The World' is almost preachy and completely cliché. 'The Resistance' is as off putting as the rest of the album, and the ending feels completely out of place. Even the band knew they needed something big to end the album, so they just stuck a random jam at the end of this track.
Skillet had an identity crisis with Unleashed. The album started off so promising, which is what makes this record so disappointing. Everything fell apart as the album got to its center, and nothing improved. There's no sense of identity in this album; it's disjointed and uninspired. There's still some hope, as evidenced by the first few tracks. Let's hope the next album isn't a flop, too.
Favorite Tracks: Feel Invincible, I Want To Live, Back From The Dead
Least Favorite Tracks: Lions, Famous, Burn It Down
Rating: 59 / 100